Looking at the UEFA rankings, PSG are in 4th spot, Man City 5th, Slavia 8th and Brondby 10th, so when it was the Czech side Slavia Praha who came out of the pot for us, it wasn’t a bad outcome given the other possibilities. PSG have just had a win over Lyon in the French League, handing them their first league defeat in almost 4 years, so I think Antonio Cincotta and his squad will be happy to have avoided them at this stage.
Fiorentina incidentally are currently at number 20 in the UEFA rankings, the highest of the Italian clubs.
Slavia currently lie in second place in the Czech League, behind their city rivals Sparta. Since the Czech league was formed after the break up of Czechoslovakia, the title has always been a battle between these two sides, with Slavia winning 7 compared to the 20 titles that Sparta have won.
Last seasons campaign, which like so many others was abandoned in April, was awarded to Fiorentina’s opponents, where they had won all 13 of their games played. The current season was stopped back in October and doesn’t look like getting under way again any time soon. Slavia have won 6 of their 7 games so far, losing out 5-1 in the all important tie with Sparta. This really is the only game they ever risk losing in the domestic league, racking up 8-0, 8-1, 7-0 wins in some of their other games this season.
They do have quite a good record in the Champions League. In the last five tournaments they have at least reached the last 16, and in both 2017/18 and 2018/19 they made it to the quarter-final stage, losing out to Wolfsburg and Bayern.
In last seasons competition they had a 9-2 aggregate win over Scottish side Hibernian before going out to Arsenal, the team which also knocked Fiorentina out. While Fiorentina lost out 6-0 on aggregate with the English club, Slavia would finish up on the wrong end of a 13-2 aggregate score. Our own Louise Quinn played in both of those games for Arsenal so she could be a valuable source of information for the manager and team.
In 2018/19 they needed to come through from the qualifying stage first, before knocking out Gintra of Lithuania 7-0 and Rosengard of Sweden on a 3-2 aggregate score. They then held Bayern to a 1-1 draw at home in the quarter-finals but lost out 5-1 in the away leg.
Looking back at the 2017/18 competition, Slavia had wins over FC Minsk and Stjarnan from Iceland, before facing Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals. The German side would go on to reach the final, and had beaten Fiorentina 7-3 on aggregate before they defeated Slavia on an overall score of 6-1.
The Czech side are now without the top scorer in the domestic league in 3 of the last 4 seasons, Kateřina Svitková has recently joined English club West Ham. They do still have some firepower in their attack however, Tereza Kožárová has scored 13 goals in her 7 league games this season and also hit 5 goals in last seasons Champions League.
They have a squad of mainly Czech players, but there are a few Slovakian internationals too, Laura Žemberyová, Martina Šurnovská and Diana Bartovičová. Last year they also brought in Mia Persson from Sweden.
The team is managed by former Czech footballer Michal Kolomazník. After the draw this is what he had to say “Fiorentina is a very experienced team, for the fourth time in a row in the Champions League, and even though it is currently the fifth in the ongoing domestic competition, nothing simple awaits us in our situation. Challenging matches await us, yet I always trust my girls!”.
As the unseeded team, Fiorentina will play the first leg at home, on December 9th with the return leg in Prague taking place on December 15th.
Antonio Cincotta speaking after the draw said that they have taken Fiorentina into the Champions League for the fourth consecutive year which is the important thing. He added that the tie with Slavia Praha will be challenging but that every game in the Champions League is complicated and that they will give it everything as they always do.
He now has two weeks to prepare for this important clash, with the team having only one league game, versus Milan, before the Champions League tie. Cincotta will however be without quite a few of our international players at the moment who are away on duty with their national sides in Euro qualifiers.
In other news from todays draw, Juventus will need to overcome Lyon, the club who has won the last five editions of the competition. Sparta Praha will take on Glasgow City, Manchester City drew Goteberg, PSV face Barcelona and last years finalists Wolfsburg will play Serbian side Spartak Subotica.